It is fall, so that means crisp air, sweater weather and it is time for Give Kids Sight Day. The Wills Eye GKSD is an annual event in Philadelphia where optometrists, ophthalmologists, opticians and ophthalmic techs volunteer to give free eye exams and glasses to children 17 and under. Kids from all over Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware get refracted, receive special testing if needed and are fitted with new glasses at absolutely no cost.
This event is perfect for me for two specific reasons: I love kids and I get to be an optician again for a day. My current role is at an eye hospital where only adults are seen, as children are sent directly to the Children’s Hospital, and I miss working pediatrics. I get kids. And kids get me, too. It’s great. Aside from only seeing adult patients, I also only work as a tech and miss the optician life. Glasses are fun and it is great that I can be a part of an event that lets kids choose their own brand new pair.
Most of the children that come through have a mild to moderate refractive errors, but some who come for their exam have amblyopia, high myopia/ hyperopia or even strabismus and volunteers from around the area help them get what they need without them having to pay a dime. Have you ever had specialty glasses made? They can get EXPENSIVE. We ensure that these families don’t have to go into debt so their kids can see.
Volunteering is super rewarding and I encourage everyone to do it in some aspect or another. Reach out to your state or local ophthalmic personnel society and see what opportunities are available in your community. 💙